DR. KEEN'S ADDRESS
Our Recent Debts to Vivisection.
CAROLINE EARLE WHITE,
Vice-President of thb American Society for the Restriction of Vivisection.
"AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE RESTRICTION OF VIVISECTION,"
No. 1002 Walnut Street.
RE MOV I
DR. KEEN'S ADDRESS
Our Recent Debts to Vivisection.
CAROLINE EARLE WHITE,
Vice-President of the American Society for the Restriction of Vivisection.
"AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE RESTRICTION OF VIVISECTION,
No. 1002 Walnut Street.
PRESS OF WM. F. FELL A CO.,
1223-24 SANSOM STREET,
AN ANSWER TO DR. KEEN'S ADDRESS
"Our Recent Debts to Vivisection."
To the Graduates at the Twenty-third Commencement of the Woman 's
Medical College of Pennsylvania : —
Having accidentally, a few days ago, been led to take up and read
the address delivered before you by Professor Keen, on the occasion of
your graduation, I feel a strong desire to state to you some of the
facts on the other side, and to show you how illusory I, as well as those
connected with me in the Anti-Vivisection agitation, consider his
claim to a long list of benefits derived, within the last twenty-five
years, from experiments upon animals.
I am not, it is true, a student or graduate of medicine; but the
fact that I am, in the first place, one of your own sex, interested
as you are in the advancement of true science, and in the pro-
gress of the human race ; that, secondly, I was one of the first origina-
tors of the American Society for the Restriction of Vivisection (the
only such Association in existence in the United States) ; and that,
thirdly, for years I have given this subject of experimentation upon
animals careful and serious study, reading without reserve both sides
of the question, will, I hope, entitle what I now say to respectful con-
sideration at your hands.
Dr. Keen begins with stating the axiom that medicine must either
grow worse, stand still, or grow better, and that as we all naturally
desire it to grow better we must perform experiments upon some liv-
ing body ; " that in many cases these experiments involve great risk
' ' to life or health, and that as here they can not and must not be
" tested first upon man, the only alternative we have is to try them
"upon the lower animals; and that we should be most unwise, nay,
" cruel, both to man and to animals, if we refused to pain or even to
" slay, a few animals that thousands, both of men and of animals, might
Here, at once, I begin to take issue with Dr. Keen, and to this
premise I decidedly object : first, to its wording, because I do not con-
sider it correctly stated ; secondly, to its argument, which is, in my
I think his expression, " to pain or even slay " a few animals, decid-
edly an inverted climax, and would substitute for it "to slay or even
to torture," since we do not object to the slaying of animals, when
by so doing we can derive undoubted benefit for mankind ; but it is
the torture, or as the Doctor terms it, the "pain," against which we
protest, considering it a far greater evil than death, and in fact involving
death, as a general thing, since we have scarcely ever heard of an
animal which was made the subject of severe experimentation and then
allowed to recover and live.
For Dr. Keen's expression of a "few" animals, I should like to
It is a favorite euphemism with vivisectors and the advocates of
vivisection to say a " few " animals. Is it not better, they almost in-
variably ask, that a few animals should suffer, than that the human
race should be deprived of any advantage that it is possible to obtain ?
Allow me to give you some idea of what is implied in the term " a few
animals. ' '
Dr. Schiff, the eminent Vivisector, during his residence in Florence,
of ten years, is generally stated to have killed in his experiments four-
teen thousand dogs. The Vivisector, Flourens, in his own writings,
says: " Magendie sacrificed 4000 dogs to prove the correctness of
Sir Charles Bell's views with regard to the distinction of the sensitive
and motor nerves ; he then sacrificed 4000 more to prove these views
erroneous. I took up the experiments in my turn, and demonstrated
the first opinion to be the right one ; in order to arrive at my results I
also vivisected a great number of dogs."
If four vivisectors alone can thus be shown to have put to death
about twenty-five thousand animals, some ten thousand of which were
in one single series of experiments, and those some of the most terrible
that can be imagined, since they were made on the nerves, is it
too much to say that all that have been offered up on what are
called by physiologists the "bloodless altars " of Science, since
these experiments first began may correctly be represented by the
term millions ?
I take issue with Dr. Keen, in the second place, where he says "these
experiments can not, nay, they must not, be tested first upon man."
I assert, on the contrary, that in the majority of cases they must be
tested first upon man, or not tested at all, because, no important de-
ductions can ever be drawn, with any degree of certainty, from experi-
ments upon animals, since in some inexplicable way their construction
is so different from that of man. I can cite no better instance of this
fact than that given by Lawson Tait, one of the most celebrated Eng-
lish surgeons, who claims that Vivisection has done more harm than
good, at least to surgery, from the very fact of its leading to such
In a letter to the Birmingham Daily Post, of the 12th of December,
1 88 1, he says : —
"Like every member of my profession, I was brought up in the
belief that by vivisection had been obtained almost every important
fact in physiology, and that many of our most valued means of saving
life, and diminishing suffering, had resulted from experiments on the
lower animals. I now know that nothing of the sort is true con-
cerning the art of surgery, and not only do I not believe that Vivisec-
tion has helped the surgeon one bit, but I know that it has often led
" Very many years ago, at the request of my master, the late Sir James
Simpson, I undertook a series of experiments on the lower animals, to
determine a doubtful question in the method of closure of arteries
after surgical operations. His restless genius had incited him to
efforts for the improvement of our means of arresting hemorrhage,
and he introduced what he termed 'acupressure,' to replace the liga-
ture. My experiments were conducted under the advice and guid-
ance of one of the most eminent physiologists, still alive. The poor
animals, chiefly dogs, were operated upon under chloroform, and were
spared as much suffering as possible. But, of course, they suffered,
and I have often thought of those poor dogs with bitter regret.
" The conclusion of the experiments seemed absolutely perfect, and
my observations were quoted far and wide, were translated into foreign
languages, and everything looked as if ' acupressure ' was to reform
the art of surgery. It did not ; it speedily died out, and has been, I
think, almost forgotten. The explanation of this lay in the simple
fact that the closure of a dog's artery is altogether a different process
from that seen in the human vessel, and my experiments were not only
needless, but they were absolutely misleading. Simpson's inquiry, as
we all know now, was altogether in the wrong direction, and the per-
fection to which this part of our art has been brought has not been
obtained by the aid of vivisection, but actually in spite of it.
" Here, then, is the great difficulty, an ' a priori'' one, but, so far as I
can see, absolutely insurmountable. If we cannot apply the facts ob-
served in so simple a matter as the closure of an artery, from the dog
to man, how can we, in reason, apply facts from the same sources in so
difficult and complicated a subject as the action of the brain, etc.?"
On another occasion he says, " I venture to prophesy that every un-
prejudiced practitioner of medicine and surgery, if he will investigate
the matter, will have an awakening of conscience such as took place in
my case, and will begin to doubt the propriety of cruel experimenta-
tion upon animals."
Dr. Keen speaks at length of the value of experimenting upon ani-
mals to ascertain the effect of drugs and poisons, which surprises me,
since in no respect are erroneous deductions more likely to be made
than in these same experiments. It is true that the action of these
substances upon men and the lower animals may sometimes be analo-
gous, but no matter what experiments were made in the hydrochlorate
of cocaine upon the animals mentioned by Dr. Keen, they were abso-
lutely inconclusive as regards man until the crucial experiment was
made upon the latter. Therefore, in trying the hydrochlorate of
cocaine first upon dogs or cats, they did not avoid any risk to
man, for they could not tell how man would be affected thereby. In
their general effect upon the system, the action of powerful and poison-
ous drugs, moreover, is often so different in men and animals that ex-
periments upon the latter form a most misleading method of research.
You have, doubtless, all heard of how many substances that are poi-
sonous to man are innocuous to certain animals ; how horses can take
large quantities of antimony, dogs mercury, goats tobacco, mice hem-
lock, and rabbits belladonna, with perfect impunity.
Supposing that any physiologist, reasoning after Dr. Keen's fashion,
and having tried belladonna upon rabbits or mercury upon dogs,
should have given these substances, without any hesitation, to human
beings, would not the consequences have been much more deplorable
than trying the hydrochlorate of cocaine upon the eye of a man before
testing it upon an animal ?
There are other instances, not so well known, of the different action
of certain poisons upon the system of men and animals.
One of the most remarkable is that mentioned by Dr. Livingstone,
in his account of the Tse-tse fly, found in Central Africa.
" The bite of this poisonous insect," he says " is certain death to the
" ox, horse or dog. The mule, ass and goat enjoy the same immunity
" from the Tse-tse as man and game. Many large tribes on the Zam-
" besi can keep no domestic animals, except the goat, in consequence
" of the scourge existing in their country. Our children were bitten,
" yet suffered no harm, and we saw around us numbers of zebras, buffa-
" loes, pigs, pallahs and other antelopes, feeding quietly in the very
" habitat of the fly. There is not so much difference in the nature of
" the horse and zebra, the buffalo and ox, the sheep and antelope, as to
"afford any satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon."
Dr. Abiathar Wall, in his essay upon Vivisection — from which I
have made the extract — when speaking of this, says, " It seems strange
that two members of the same family, though of different genera
(e.g., the horse and zebra), should be so unequally affected by the same
poison — the one being certain to die, the other escaping scathless ;
but it serves to show that the difference of structure in genera of the
same family, implies a difference of physiological action. Hence this
affords one more illustration of the danger of generalizing from experi-
ments made on animals, even if claiming a sort of kinship. If, then,
animals presenting but slight differences between each other behave
so differently under the action of a poison, what must the gap be
between them and man ?
" Had the action of the Tse-tse poison been unknown in Africa, and
had it been sent home to be experimented upon, with the result of
fully establishing its lethal effect upon the horse and dog, we should
have been told that it was, therefore, a poison to man ! This would
be an utterly wrong conclusion, but would amply demonstrate the
folly of arguing from the lower animals to human beings."
How different is this incertitude and vagueness of results from the
satisfaction that attends the performance of experiments upon man,
when they can be properly and safely tried. Divine Providence has,
we believe, ordained that in some of the many accidents which so
often, unhappily, befall mankind, a legitimate means can be afforded
for wresting the secrets of Nature from her grasp and increasing our
knowledge of physiology. How much greater was the knowledge
obtained of the digestive organs and the process of digestion by the
accident which happened to Alexis St. Martin, than by all the experi-
ments upon animals that had ever been made !
And yet, in the face of this fact, Dr. Keen exclaims : ; ' But Nature's
" experiments are rarely ever limited in area, or uncomplicated : they
" are never systematic or exhaustive; it takes years to collect a fair
" number of her clumsy experiments ; and the knowledge is diffused
" through many minds, instead of being centered in one that will sys-
" tematize the results."
Next on the list of benefits arising from Vivisection, Dr. Keen men-
tions the improvement in the treatment of gunshot wounds in the
abdomen, by making an opening therein, and treating, by appropriate
surgical methods, the wounded places ; sometimes even going so far as
to remove a piece of the bowel, and uniting the cut ends.
This improvement he specifically attributes to the result of experi-
ments which Dr. Parkes, of Chicago, made upon thirty-seven dogs, that
were etherized, then wounded by shooting, the abdomen opened and
the wounds treated in a proper manner. He does not, however, ap-
pear to regard it as at all material to his argument that similar experi-
ments were made by Professor Gross over forty years ago, and the
same deductions drawn therefrom.* Is not this fact enough to con-
vince any one " in sana mente" of the necessity of some restriction of
This same claim which Dr. Keen makes, was advanced in an edito-
rial published in the Philadelphia Times on the 28th of last July, and
which I answered at that time, my answer being inserted in the Times
of August 4th.
In it I urged that the experiments upon the dogs were not of the
least use, since they, in common with many of the lower animals, are
not liable to peritonitis in cases where the peritoneum is cut or rup-
tured, f and that as the great danger to man in such cases arises from
his extreme liability to peritonitis, no deductions of value could
be drawn from experiments upon dogs. I said that Dr. Parkes, of
Chicago, might have vivisected thirty-seven dogs, as reported, or thirty-
seven thousand ; the experiment when tried upon man for the first time
was just as much of an experiment as if no dog had ever been touched,
therefore, Dr. Parkes' experiments, like most of those in Vivisection,
were entirely unnecessary, doubly unnecessary, I should now say, since,
as I before mentioned, similar ones had already been performed by Dr.
Gross. Dr. Henry J. Bigelow, the eminent surgeon of Boston, to
whom I showed my answer, confirmed my argument and my state-
ments in all respects, except that he thought I had overrated the immu-
nity of dogs from peritonitis, as it is possible, he said, for them to have
that disease, although it occurs very, very rarely. While there may
be some physiologists who differ from this, the weight of evidence is
incontestably on the side of the statement that dogs enjoy almost en-
tire immunity from that painful disease.
The same argument applies exactly to the next claim of importance
on Dr. Keen's list, which is that of the improvements in ovariotomy,
owing to Sir Spencer Wells' experiments upon what Dr. Keen is pleased
to call a "few dogs," but which were in reality a good many rabbits
and guinea pigs. Dr. Abiathar Wall, in his essay upon Vivisection,
when speaking of these experiments says : " Now, according to the
Lancet (September 29th, 1877), the animals used for these experi-
* Medical News, May 3d, 1884.
t The peritoneum, the covering and enveloping membrane of all the organs in the body, is in man
particularly liable to inflammation, even by slight puncture or abrasion ; and its inflammation consti-
tutes one of the most painful, dangerous and mortal accidents known to the medical profession. But
in animals, and even in a creature so highly developed as the dog, the incision and violent rupture of
this membrane is attended with no inflammatory danger. — Dr. Anna Kingsford, in the Nineteenth
Century, February, 1882.
ments 'enjoy immunity from severe peritonitis,'* hence it is open
to doubt as to whether the results obtained could be made applicable
to human beings, who are eminently liable to this form of inflamma-
Another fact that Dr. Wall mentions in disproof of the claim that
Sir Spencer Wells' experiments resulted in any benefit is, that the mor-
tality in his subsequent ovarian operations was scarcely lessened for
several years. "In the first hundred cases the mortality was 34 per
" cent., whereas in all previous cases that could be collected the mor-
" tality was only 33.89 per cent."
In the first five years, according to the statistics of Mr. Spencer
Wells' own cases, about one in three died; in the next ten, about one
in four ; in the next five years, about one in five ; but in the last two
years about one in ten. "From these data it is evident," says Dr.
Wall, " that the diminution of mortality has been gradual, whereas,
" had the knowledge obtained by Vivisection been true, we ought nat-
" urally to have expected to have had an immediate and rapid fatlm
" the death rate. The first mortality is somewhere about 34 per cent.,
" the present is about 10 per cent., and it has taken twenty years to
" produce this satisfactory result."
To refer again to Lawson Tait : In a speech made at the annual
meeting of the Anti- Vivisection Society, in London, in the year 1882,
he said : "I follow the line of practice in which Spencer Wells made
" such a reputation. I remember the statement made by the Bishop
" of Peterborough, in the House of Lords, that some of Spencer Wells'
"experiments had contributed to medical advancement (alluding to
" the same experiments of which Dr. Keen speaks), but that statement
" was as childish and incorrect as anything could be. I am speaking
"on matters of fact within the compass of my own daily life, matters
" on which I am in the position to speak as authoritatively as any man
"in this country, and I say that nothing could be more childish and
" incorrect than that statement."
From this it appears that there exists a difference of opinion between
Dr. Keen and Lawson Tait as to the value of Vivisection in the opera-
tions of Ovariotomy ; which of the two is the better qualified to speak
upon this subject, I will not attempt to decide.
The next debt which we owe to Vivisection, according to Dr. Keen,
is the improved treatment of sunstroke, resulting from Dr. Horatio C.
Wood's experiments upon animals. As this was answered at the time
by Dr. Owen Wister, most satisfactorily, I merely append his answer:
*It is only fair to say that one physiologist, at least, differs from the London Lancet in the opinion
that rabbits cannot have peritonitis.
For the Public Ledger : —
Mr. Editor ; — Will you kindly give me space to say a few words in
reply to some comments on Dr. Keen's address at the Commencement
of the Woman's Medical College, which appeared in your issue of the
1 2th instant? *
In speaking of the experiments made with heat on living animals in
Philadelphia, Dr. Keen is stated to have said that the animals were
exposed to a heat no greater than that to which outdoor laborers are
subjected in Summer. Dr. Keen omitted to mention that in those ex-
periments the heads of cats and rabbits were exposed, by means of a
skull-cap, to a stream of water at a temperature of 175 to 190 . We
should be glad to know under what circumstances similar conditions
occur in nature. It is proper to state, in the interest of truth, that
these investigations did not add one fact to our knowledge of the
pathology of sunstroke, nor one suggestion to our method of treating
it. In fact, there is no stronger argument against the usefulness of
vivisection than the researches to which Dr. Keen refers.
March 12th, 1885. Owen J. Wister.*
Dr. Keen next mentions that in India alone twenty thousand human
beings die annually from snake bites, and, as yet, no antidote has been
discovered. " How can we search intelligently for an antidote," he
asks, " until we know accurately the effects of the poison ? "
The answer that suggests itself to me, is very different from the one
which he makes. I should reply that, in order to find out the effects
of the poison, and to search also for an antidote, the best plan would
be for the experimenters to go to India, where they could find as large
a field for investigation as they require, in the poor victims themselves.
Here is an opportunity, such as is not often afforded, of experimenting
upon human beings, since, as they would infallibly die from the snake
bites, there can be no objection to trying upon them every variety of
antidote that can be discovered. Nothing seems to me less defensible
than these experiments in the poison of snake bites upon animals, since
it is the one case in which they could be observed with so much satis-
faction and certainty upon men. It is true that it would require a
journey to India, since the deaths from snake bites are generally all in
that country; but should these benefactors of the human race, as Dr.
Keen considers them, who have sacrificed for this end the God-given
* There are two more letters in the correspondence, one from Dr. Keen in answer to the above,
and another from Dr. Wister, but as they leave the subject very much in the same position that it is
at the end of this first letter, we do not think it worth while to add them to an article so much longer
than we at first intended.
sentiments of pity and compassion for helpless brutes, hesitate to make
the extra sacrifice of a temporary residence in India? Another reason,
moreover, why these investigations should not be continued upon ani-
mals, is the extreme uncertainty as to whether any antidote will ever
be found that will prove available, no matter upon whom or upon what
the experiments are tried. Dr. Alfred Swayne Taylor, Fellow of the
Royal College of Physicians, Lecturer on Medical Jurisprudence and
Toxicology at Guy's Hospital, author of works on Poisons and Medi-
cal Jurisprudence, in his examination before the English Royal Com-
mission to investigate the subject of vivisection, was asked the ques-
tion, "Do you imagine that experiments are likely to do much good
for that purpose " (z. e., of obtaining an antidote for snake bites)? He
replied, " No, I do not. I have read them all with great care. Am-
' monia has been recommended by Dr. Halford, in Australia, but this
' has proved utterly inefficient when the experiments have been fairly
' performed ; and, in truth, if you consider for a moment the mode
' of death from poison, you will see how difficult it is for any antidote
' by injection to operate. The poison rapidly gets into the blood ;
' when in the blood it alters this fluid, and unless the remedy proposed
' enters into the blood quite as quickly, and very soon after the poison
' has entered, no good can be done. There may be some slowly ope-
' rating poisons, but with regard to serpent poison, when it once enters
' the blood, the effect is most extraordinary ; the rapidity of death is
' very great indeed."
Dr. Keen next speaks of anaesthetics (the most important of which,
viz., ether and chloroform, have certainly not been discovered by
means of experiments upon animals, but on human beings), and says
that the ideal anaesthetic, which will abolish pain without abolishing
consciousness, will surely be found, if experiments upoYi animals are
continued. This prediction, referring to something in the dim future,
is not, of course, susceptible of disproof, so I pass it by, as I should if
Dr. Keen predicted that, by means of these same experiments, the
elixir of life would be discovered.
The next instance that he mentions is where Simon, of Heidelberg,
wished to remove one of the kidneys from a woman under his charge,
but feared to do so, as no one had ever removed a healthy kidney, Dr.
Keen says., and no one had tested which was the best method of reach-
ing the kidney, whether by the abdomen or the loin, etc., so he experi-
mented upon a number of dogs, and then removed the kidney from
his patient, and saved her life. It seems strange that he could find out
how to reach the kidney in a human being from trying the same opera-
tion upon a dog, when the construction of a quadruped and man is
necessarily so different. Moreover, if, as Dr. Keen tells us, a diseased
kidney had been removed from a human being several times, why should
Simon, of Heidelberg, object to removing a healthy kidney ? The risk
would seem much less in the latter than in the former case, and if Dr.
Keen has no better excuse than this to urge for the performance -of
experiments upon animals, he is even in a worse case than I thought
He next comes to Ferrier's experiments upon the brains of
monkeys, " basing his conclusions on which, Dr. Hughes Bennett,"
he says, " about a year ago, diagnosticated a small tumor on the sur-
face of the brain, involving the centre of motion for the muscles of
That the result of Ferrier's experiments are so entirely to be
depended upon as Dr. Keen would have us believe, is not admitted
by all scientists. In a paper published by an Italian Professor, Mar-
cacci, in the second volume of " Arshives Italiennes de Biologie,"and
announced to be the work of the laboratory of the Sorbonne, he
sets himself to solve the following problem: "To find whether the
" results obtained by experimenting on animals — especially by the abla-
" tion of the motor zones — are in harmony with bedside observation,
'* and further to test whether these last are always identical, and
" whether it be possible to draw a conclusion as to any definite locali-
" zation in the human brain. The record of Professor Marcacci's
"observations is most elaborate, and occupies twenty pages. Cases
" which ought to have corresponded with and verified Professor Fer-
" rier's conclusions, respecting the localization of the motor centres of
" the arms, face, leg and half body, are numerously cited from French,
f< English and American medical papers, and the following are speci-
" mens of the' results which Professor Marcacci reaches : —
"The cases of brachial monospasm hitherto reported do not serve
" in the slightest degree to establish the localization of the motor centre
" of the arms, especially if we accept Ferrier's scheme (p. 85).
" Here are two cases which, though reported by Ferrier, are simply
"against him (p. 85).
" That it is possible to have facial paralysis without the lesion which
" Ferrier indicated, we have already seen. . . . Here are two cases
" in which the lesions occupied precisely the seat indicated by Ferrier,
" but in which there was no paralysis of the face whatever (p. 89).
" After citing many more such failures, Professor Marcacci remarks,
" We might continue thus indefinitely, and we should find in all cases
" as little exactitude. . . ." He proceeds to criticise Ferrier's doc-
" trine of the latent zone, and refers to 167 cases, of which the majority
" seem to refuse most positively to fit Professor Ferrier's theory, on any
" plea whatever. In conclusion (p. ioo), Professor Marcacci lays
" down the following results of his exhaustive inquiries : —
" i. That pathological observations do not authorize us to admit
" motor centres in the human brain.
"2. That hemiplegia of cortical origin may arise from various
"lesions, and not only from that of the common centre.
"3. That lesions of the 'latent zone' may occasion motor troubles,
" and lesions of the ' motor zone ' occasion nothing of the kind ; in
"other words, that the 'motor zone ' may be latent and the 'latent
" zone ' be motor."*
This view — that the so-called " motor zone " is not really motor —
has recently been reaffirmed by Vulpian,f while it is well known that
so eminent an authority as Brown-Sequard is quite opposed to the
current tendency, to premature application of the localization theory
to diagnosis of brain tumors.
Now, with regard to the removal of the brain tumor from the patient
in the London Hospital for Epilepsy and Paralysis — which is announced
with such a flourish of trumpets by Dr. Keen, as being due to the
vivisectional experiments of Ferrier — if he had wished to come over
to our side, and advocate the fallacy of conclusions drawn from these
experiments, he could scarcely have done so more effectually than in
citing this case, since the physicians who removed the tumor, did not
find it where it was stated to be by Dr. Hughes Bennett, who made
his diagnosis on the basis of Ferrier's experiments. The London
Lancet of November 29th, 1884, says, when speaking of the case,
" The tumor was diagnosed as lying in the upper part of the fissure of
Rolando, but was subsequently found under the gray matter of the
ascending frontal convolution," the one place being separated from
the other by at least the whole breadth of the anterior ascending
Moreover, the patient from whom the tumor was removed, soon
afterward died, so that in no light can the affair be considered any-
thing but an utter failure ; yet this, we are told, is one of the debts
that we owe to vivisection.
The editor of the Philadelphia Medical Times, when speaking
of this case, in an editorial published about a year ago, says, "It
" would be a bold surgeon who would operate in a case, with nothing
"more to guide him than the information afforded by the study of
" motor centres in the brain made by Hitzig and Ferrier — especially
* Zoophilist, October, 1883. f Medical Times, June 27th, 1885.
" if he were at all familiar with the writings of Brown-Sequard upon
" the same subject."*
Dr. Keen next proceeds to speak of the labors of Koch, Pasteur
and others, in the experimental study of the minute organisms called
microbes, and of the theory of Koch, that consumption is caused by
the " bacillus tuberculosis " and cholera by the " comma bacillus."
This last alleged discovery has been received with considerable doubt
by the scientific world from the moment of its publication, and the
investigations made during the late cholera epidemic in Europe, have
tended to greatly weaken the little faith yet remaining in its proba-
bility. Dr. Keen himself says that Koch's views have met with the
"opposition of prominent scientists." How, then, if there is such in-
certitude as to their reliability, can he claim them as one of "our
recent debts to vivisection " ? As to the "classic " experiments, as
Dr. Keen calls them, of Thiersch, in 1853, in inoculating mice with
choleraic discharges, what had they to do with the "comma bacil-
lus," or of what use were they? Did not all physicians know, prior
to that time, that if unwholesome and impure matter was taken into
the system, the result would be either to sicken or to kill the organiza-
tion receiving it, whether that of man or of the lower animals ? But
to return to the alleged discoveries of Koch ; admitting them to be
true, how little good have they accomplished. With regard to his
well-known theory of the microbe called the bacillus tuberculosis, as
the cause of consumption, all that even Dr. Keen himself can show, as
already resulting from his discoveries, is that "they have enabled
us to recognize, by the microscope, doubtful cases in their earlier and
more remediable stages, and have made certain what was hitherto only
a probability, viz., that consumption is distinctly contagious." That
they have taught us anyway of lessening the mortality from this dread
disease, I have never seen stated. These results — admitting that they
are reliable — do not seem to us of enough grandeur to compensate for
a tithe of the sufferings inflicted upon the animals used for the experi-
ments. The other great microbe discoverer, Pasteur, is open to severe
criticism — or so, at least, his fellow-worker, Koch, seems to think,
judging from an article which was written by him, and which appeared
in the Semaine Medicale of the 21st and 28th of December, 1882.
In this article, Koch, who is certainly likely to be better authority on
the subject than any one else, accuses Pasteur of being a mere plagi-
arist — going from Congress to Congress and Academy to Academy, an-
nouncing new diseases and germs as his own discovery, which had
* Phila. Medical Times, Vol. xv, p. 357.
previously been discovered by others and published long before Pas-
teur had done anything in the same direction. As a case in point, he
instances that the working out of the causation of charbon (splenic
fever), which Pasteur claims as his own, and for which he has received
the highest honor, was really the work of Koch himself, who had com-
pleted and published the whole account in 1876, although Pasteur's
first note on the subject was only published in 1877.* The article is
very long, and contains a number of charges against Pasteur, all of
which appear to be clearly proven ; but I think that I have quoted
enough to weaken your confidence considerably in anything that Pas-
teur can claim as one of his discoveries. It is true that if any real
benefit is gained for the human race, it makes little difference by whom
it is discovered ; but the fact that Koch attacks Pasteur, and says that
he has not made any discoveries of importance, and that other scien-
tists, notably your own teacher, Dr. Formad, attack Koch, and say
that he is mistaken in his theories, and that his conclusions are entirely
incorrect, ought, I should think, to dispose you to reject what they
both say, or to maintain, at least, that animals ought not to be tortured
for the purpose of gaining results that are, after all, so vague and
After having finished with the subject of microbes, Dr. Keen intro-
duces that of inoculation, and cites the experiments upon guinea pigs
with the virus of yellow fever, by Mr. Freire, of Rio Janeiro, and his
subsequent experiments upon himself and a number of others, also on
two hundred wharf laborers, by inoculation with the attenuated virus,
obtained from the guinea pigs, which resulted most successfully. Dr.
Keen thinks that if this method continue to prove efficacious, as he
believes it will, a glorious result will follow during the next epidemic
of yellow fever. I am as anxious as Dr. Keen that something should
be found to check the ravages of yellow fever, but I will confess to
being skeptical as to all these discoveries that involve the inoculation
of animals and the passage of diseases through their bodies before
communicating them to the human race. There are, as yet, but one
or two well authenticated cases of Pasteur's alleged discovery of inocu-
lation by the attenuated virus of rabies being applied to the human
race, and it seems that this discovery of inoculation by the attenuated
virus of yellow fever has not yet been proved to be a success, to
more than an extremely limited extent. Does it not seem, then, a little
premature, and therefore unfair, for Dr. Keen to cite these among the
* Zoophilist , Feb. ist,
"debts that we owe to Vivisection" ? In view, too, of his frequent
sanguine predictions that glorious results will follow from certain real
or alleged discoveries, I will cite to you the case of the eminent scien-
tist, Professor Tyndall, and the mistake into which he fell.
"A few years ago, he announced in the London Times, that Dr.
"Klein had just discovered the germs causing typhoid fever in the
"pig, and prophesied with temerity that that disease would soon be
" under control. The sequel to the story is that, after Klein's vaunted
"researches had been published in the Royal Society's Transactions,
" together with a plate of the morbid (sic) organisms, it was found out
" that these organisms consisted only of albumen coagulated by alco-
' hoi, and Dr. Klein was compelled, by the exposure of the deceptive
"nature of his germs, afterwards to publish in the 'Transactions' a
" recantation and withdrawal of all he had previously published, and
"Tyndall had trumpeted."*
Dr. Keen's list of great discoveries (?) does not continue much
further. The only one which he enters into at length, and to which I
propose to reply (as this article has already gone beyond the limits
intended), is one with which you are all familiar, under the name of
Listerism, or the antiseptic method. I will here make a last quota-
tion from Lawson Tait. If I seem to have recourse often to his writ-
ings, it is because we could have no greater. authority than he, in all
matters relating to abdominal surgery. In the early part of the year
1882 he read a paper before the Surgical Society of Ireland, on "Lis-
terism," so long that I can only make a few extracts from it, but these
may serve to give you a pretty fair idea of what his opinion is of most
of the vaunted discoveries of Sir Joseph Lister. In the first place he
says : —
" Putting theory and private conviction aside, and influenced solely
" by a verdict which seemed almost unanimous, and by the surgical
" conscience which obliges us all to do everything we can, and to use
"everything we know, for the welfare of our patients, I gave Mr.
"Lister's method a trial, which extended over a series of abdominal
"sections. This was composed of nearly a hundred operations, sixty
"of which were for the removal of ovarian tumors, and the detailed
"results of most of them, and many others, are given in the paper
" I have already alluded to. The conclusions of the figures, which
" were not, and so far, have not been, challenged, were in every way
" against Mr. Lister's practice; and the influence which has been exer-
* Physiological Fallacies, No. 11.
" cised by this paper has been considerable, in modifying the views
"of a large number of competent authorities upon this important
"I announced in that paper that, having come to the conclusion
" that Mr. Lister's system, when completely used, was prejudicial to
" my patients, not only in the question of mortality but in the speed
"and evenness with which they recovered, I should further inquire
" into the influence of the method, etc."
Lawson Tait goes on to say that, having begun his operations with
the use of the carbolic spray, he soon came to the conclusion that it
was' absolutely injurious, and eventually rejected carbolic acid alto-
gether, using only a spray of steam from ordinary hydrant water,
which proved very successful. He then says, " This research occupied
"nearly two years, and all through that time I was carefully on the
"watch for either symptoms or results which would arrest me in my
" experiment and show me that I was in error, and that I must retrace
"my steps and reestablish Listerism in my practice, but I found none.
"... Suffice it to say that, since the time when I may be said to have
"abandoned the practice of Listerism, I have performed 107 cora-
" pleted operations for the removal of ovarian tumors, and of these
"there have been only three deaths, or a mortality of 2.08 per
You can now see what is thought by this great authority of the car-
bolic spray, at least, in ovariotomy operations.
But Dr. Keen says, as if resolved to meet every difficulty that
may arise, "We may reject carbolic acid and the spray." Reject
carbolic acid and the spray ! ! ! Then we reject what many high
authorities consider the essence of Listerism. Lawson Tait con-
cludes by saying that Sir Joseph Lister has done much good by
careful attention to details, but for a knowledge of the fact that
this careful attention to details, was so vitally necessary to success,
we are not indebted to experiments on animals. He gives him no
such extravagant praise as is bestowed upon him by Dr. Keen, nor
does he mention any of the benefits which Dr. Keen claims that we
owe to his discoveries.
I will, in passing, say a few words in reply to what Dr. Keen men-
tions of Pasteur's experiments with the attenuated virus of rabies, to
which I have already alluded. This discovery has just been applied
to man for the first time, and it has not yet been positively demon-
strated whether it will prove a success or not ; but admitting that it
may be, I will show you at what a cost of animal suffering the virus is
obtained.* Its efficacy lasts a very short time — only a few days — so
that it is always necessary to have a succession of dogs inoculated with
rabies, in order to obtain fresh virus. It is also necessary to have a
constant succession of either rabbits or monkeys, with their skulls
opened and the virus injected therein, in order to obtain the necessary
attenuation. An adoring disciple of Pasteur, visiting his laboratory,
gives this description of it: "Isolated in round and well-secured
cages are the mad dogs. Some of them are already at the stage of
furious madness — biting the bars, devouring hay and uttering those
dismal howls which no one can forget who has once heard them.
Other dogs are still in the incubating period, and still caressing, with
soft eyes, imploring a kind look."f
Does not this seem too painful a method of obtaining exemption
from hydrophobia for the human race, in view of the fact that the
disease is so rare that it is said that one "hundred deaths occur from
lightning to one from hydrophobia, and of those who are bitten by
mad dogs only twenty out of every hundred are likely to have the
I have now answered in detail, one by one, all, or nearly all of the
claims which Dr. Keen makes on behalf of vivisection, but I have not
yet done. I now propose to reply to his main or general argument,
by asking why, if such immense gains have been made during the last
twenty-five years, as he alleges, is there so little diminution in the
mortality of the principal diseases that afflict mankind?
In an article which appeared lately in Lippincott' 's Magazine, entitled
"Vivisection, is it Useful or Justifiable?" by Dr. Alfred J. Leffing-
well, he says : —
" If scientific evidence is worth anything, it points to the appalling
conclusion that, notwithstanding all the researches of physiology, some
of the chief forms of disease exhibit to-day, in England, a greater fatality
than thirty years ago. In the following table I have indicated the
average annual mortality, per million inhabitants, of certain diseases,
first, for the period of five years from 1850 to 1854, and secondly, for
the period twenty-five years later, from 1875 t0 I ^79- The authority
* It seems wonderful that sensible people can be so carried away by Pasteur's investigations in
regard to hydrophobia, which have as yet amounted to no practical value, since he has not cured one
case of declared hydrophobia. He claims to have prevented it in the persons whom he has inocu-
lated, but who can show that they would ever have had the disease, since it had not manifested itself
in any way, at the time they first applied to Pasteur. Moreover, the intelligence has just arrived,
since the above was written, that his cure has failed when applied to a case where hydrophobia had
begun to be developed. The Zoophilist of Jan. ist, 1886, mentions that a little girl of nine years of
age, who was taken to him, and whom he inoculated, died not long afterward, of the disease.
f Paris Figaro, Jan. 26th, 1884.
is beyond question ; the facts are collected from the report to Parlia-
ment of the Registrar-General of England : —
Average Annual Rate of Mortality in England, froiti Causes of Death, per One
NAME OF DISEASE.
Tubercular diseases and diseases of the respiratory
Mortality from above diseases,
Mortality from all causes whatsoever,
" This is certainly a most startling exhibit, when we remember that
from only these few causes about half of all the deaths in England
annually occur, and that from them result the deaths of two-thirds of
the persons, of both sexes, who reach the age of twenty years. What are
the effects here discernible of Bernard's experiments upon diabetes?
Of Brown-Sequard's upon epilepsy and paralysis? of Flint's and Pavy's
on diseases of the liver? of Ferrier's researches upon the functions of
the brain ? Let us appeal from the heated enthusiasm of the experi-
menter to the stern facts of the statistician. Why, so far from having
obtained the least mastery over those malignant forces which seem for-
ever to elude and baffle our art, they are actually gaining upon us;
every one of these forms of disease is more fatal to-day in England
than thirty years ago; during 1879 over sixty thousand more deaths
resulted from these maladies alone than would have occurred had the
rate of mortality from them been simply that which prevailed during
the benighted period of 1850 to 1854 ! True, during the later period
there has been a diminished mortality in England, but it is from the
lesser prevalence of zymotic diseases, which no one to-day pretends to
cure ; while the organic diseases show a constant tendency to increase.
Part of this may be due to more accurate diagnosis and clearer defini-
tion of mortality causes ; but this will not explain a phenomenon which
is too evident to be overlooked."
Before bidding adieu to Dr. Keen's address, I wish to notice the
last sentence but one which occurs in it, commencing as follows :
"The sentiments of our own profession, so constantly and conspicu-
ously humane, are always against inflicting pain, etc." As a set-off to
this gratifying tribute paid by Dr. Keen to himself and his fellow prac-
titioners, I feel called upon to cite some of the replies made by Dr.
Emmanuel Klein, one of the noted European Vivisectors, before the
English Royal Commission, appointed to investigate the subject of
Vivisection : —
3538. — What is your own practice
with regard to the use of anaesthetics
in experiments that are otherwise
3539. — When you say that you
only use them for convenience' sake,
do you mean that you have no re-
gard at all to the sufferings of the
3540. — You are prepared to estab-
lish that as a principle you ap-
3541 . — Then for your own purpose,
you disregard entirely the question
of the suffering of the animal, in per-
forming a painful experiment ?
3546. — Do you believe that it is a
general practice on the Continent to
disregard altogether the feelings of
the animals ?
Except for teaching purposes, for
demonstration, I never use anaes-
thetics, where it is not necessary for
convenience. If I demonstrate, I use
anaesthetics. If I do experiments for
my inquiries in pathological research,
except for convenience' sake, as for
instance, on dogs and cats, I do not
use them. On frogs and the lower
animals I never use them.
No regard at all.
I think that, with regard to an ex-
perimenter, a man who conducts
special research and performs an ex-
periment has no time, so to speak,
to think what will the animal feel or
suffer. His only purpose is to per-
form the experiment, to learn from it
as much as possible, and to do it as
quickly as possible.
I believe so.
From this evidence of Dr. Klein's, it is obvious what sort of a man
he is; that, as far as any feeling for animals is concerned, he might
as well be a stone ; and he says that the physiologists of the continent,
among whom are many doctors, are like him. If these are what Dr.
Keen calls humane men, he must use a different lexicon from ours.
I have considered these claims which Dr. Keen has made, so
far, solely in the light of whether the discoveries to which he alludes
have been of any real use to mankind or not, and I hope that I have
succeeded in proving, to your satisfaction, that, as a general thing,
they have not been of use. But I have said nothing of the objec-
tions that can be made to ATvisection in a moral point of view, nor
have I alluded, except incidentally, to the almost indescribable bar-
barities which are the natural result of unchecked experimentation
upon animals, and which always will be the result, to a greater or less
extent, where men are left at full liberty to carry out their investiga-
tions in any manner they please, free to gratify every caprice of a
sometimes morbid fancy, every experiment suggested by an unnatural
and diseased curiosity, as in the case of Dr. Mantegazza, of Florence,
who made a series of experiments upon rabbits and guinea pigs, to
find how long they would live when kept without food, and subjected
every day, while in a starving condition, to the most severe torture
that he could devise, He constructed an instrument for the purpose
of giving the most atrocious pain it was possible to inflict, and to this
the poor little animals were subjected at intervals of a few hours, until
they died from the combined influence of torture and starvation, some
living six days, some seven, and others still longer. Dr. Mantegazza,
does not appear even to have pretended that these experiments were
for the benefit of mankind or for any good purpose whatsoever.
The Edinburgh Medical Journal Tor 1868 and 1869 gives an account
of thirty dogs that were set on fire after being rubbed with oil of
turpentine, or scalded by pouring boiling water a number of times in
quick succession over some of the vital organs. The result was that
all the dogs died ; some in a few hours, and some not for five days.
They were narcotized to some extent at the time of the burnings and
scaldings, but what must have been the sufferings of those which lived
for several days after the influence of the narcotic had passed off?
This was done by Dr. Wertheim, of Vienna.
You may say, though, that these experimenters were foreigners, and
not of our English-speaking nation, from whom you would look for
better things. I am afraid it must be admitted, however, that things
almost as barbarous as these have been done, over and over again, in
Great Britain, particularly in Edinburgh.
The Earl of Carnarvon, when President of the Royal Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in his address at an annual
meeting, spoke as follows: "What will you say of that man who
' keeps a dog, not for hours, but for days, under the torture of the
' dissecting knife, until the spectator, grown callous to suffering, be-
' comes as savage as the operator himself? What will you say to him
' who could calmly for days prolong atrocities and sufferings which
' no Christian eye can witness without horror, no Christian lip
' describe but in the most unmeasured language of indignation ? I
' will state still further. What will a Christian audience say, when
' they hear that the revolting fact was perpetrated and recorded in
'■ the city of Edinburgh ? That an iron was heated, and then forced
' into the brain of the unfortunate animal, which with fiendish skill
' was kept alive for the space of sixteen days. By whom was this
' atrocity perpetrated ? By men who pride themselves on their science
'and their civilization, but who, in fact, are more benighted in point
' of civilization and Christianity than the benighted savages of
' Scythia. Will you be able to restrain your indignation then, when
' you are calmly told that it is better to leave such matters to the
' ' discretion ' of individuals ? In other cases, the law of outraged
' morals steps in to protect and avenge ; but against these cases,
' offensive to the light, outraging decency, repugnant to generous
'sympathy and to the Christian faith, the law deals not its thunders.
' The young and inexperienced who are attracted to these charnel-
' houses, where horrors not to be described are permitted under the
' name of science, must in time have all feelings of compassion for
'suffering entirely obliterated."
Dr. Wickham Legg, in the ninth volume of St. Bartholomew's Hos-
pital Reports, gives the history of his experiments upon sixteen' cats,
opening each one by making an incision in the abdomen, and tying
the bile ducts, for the purpose, apparently, of seeing what would be
the effect upon the system of depriving it of bile. The result was the
same in all the cases, viz., that the cats died.
Another dreadful set of experiments was performed by Professor
Rutherford, of Edinburgh, upon a number of dogs, for the purpose
of ascertaining the effect of calomel upon the liver. In these experi-
ments, also, the animals were cut open, the common bile duct dis-
sected out, divided and a glass tube inserted therein, and the wound
in the abdomen then closed up. Dr. Wall, in speaking of these ex-
periments, says, " If any one has witnessed the symptoms of the pas-
sage of a gall stone down the bile duct in the human being, let him
picture, then, a dog suffering more than this awful agony, often for
eight hours, and he will have some faint conception of what Vivisec-
In this country, also, not only is there a great deal of vivisection,
but cruel experiments are frequently made. Within a few years some
of Magendie's most inhuman and objectionable experiments have been
performed in New York, by way of class illustration. Some years ago
a physician here in Philadelphia, who was assisting a well-known
physiologist of this city in carrying on a series of investigations on
dogs, told me himself that it was dreadful to witness the sufferings of
the animals upon which they experimented.
An experiment sometimes performed by physiologists is, to starve
animals to death, and watch them in their dying agonies for certain
symptoms, such as they hope or desire to find.
But the list of horrors perpetrated " for the advancement of science
and in the interest of the human race " is so long that we do not care
to make any further quotations from the gruesome annals of Vivisec-
tion. Of some of the worst experiments, such as those upon the
nerves, in recurrent sensibility, etc., I have said nothing, for the task
is too painful.
Mr. Mark Thornhill, in his book entitled " The Clergy and Vivi-
section," when speaking of the Report of the Royal Commission
(which I have previously mentioned), says, " The Report contains
the record of hundreds of experiments and allusions to thousands.
The details of several are elaborately discussed. They are such that
when their meaning is realized, it is sufficient to make the blood
almost curdle with horror. They suggest agonies so fearful, so pro-
tracted, as to cause one to wonder how man could inflict them, how
nature could endure them — if it be not irreverent to say so — how
Providence could permit them."
What, then, do you suppose, must be the effect of such cruelties
upon the moral nature of those who practice them ? Such a thing is,
of course, possible, as for a man to be a vivisector and continue humane,
a notable example being that of Sir Charles Bell, who, in the latter
part of his life, regretted extremely the experiments that he had thought
it might be right to perform, in the beginning of his career, although
he had always many doubts upon the subject ; but such instances are,
I believe, very rare, particularly upon the continent of Europe.
Miss Frances Power Cobbe, when speaking of Dr. Mantegazza, says,
" How much benefit to mankind would be necessary to counterbalance
the leprosy of that man's soul? " and this remark might, we fear, be
found applicable to many others.
Dr. Houghton, in his evidence before the Royal Commission, said
that he "would shrink with horror from introducing students into
laboratories to witness painful experiments which would demoralize
them. Science would gain nothing," he said, "and the world would
have let loose a set of young devils."
In view of this almost inevitable demoralization consequent upon
cruel and unrestricted vivisection — vivisection as it now exists in every
civilized country in the world but England — as well as in view of all
the other facts that I have placed before you, will not all of you who
read this appeal, resolve that you will no longer support such an iniqui-
tous and atrocious system, or even remain passive or indifferent in the
matter ; but that, putting on the armor of Righteousness, you will go
forth boldly to do battle against the enemies of Mercy and Humanity,
and that you will not falter or grow weary in the conflict while life and
strength are spared to you. I do not ask you to urge the total aboli-
tion of experiments upon animals, if you are satisfied that they are
sometimes of benefit to mankind, but that, wherever you may be settled,
you will agitate the subject unceasingly until you have obtained a law
that will render impossible such scenes as may to-day be witnessed in
the laboratories of nearly every part of the civilized world — scenes so
atrociously cruel that they would disgrace a Sodom or Gomorrah — a
law that will, in short, put a stop to the abuses of Vivisection. The
English law has done a great amount of good, but even under that Act
many cruel experiments may be performed. Dr. Henry J. Bigelow,
of Boston, and Dr. Leffingvvell, both of whom I have quoted, unite in
believing that vivisectional experiments should be restricted to those
that can be performed entirely without pain, by the thorough admin-
istration of anaesthetics and the killing of the animal operated upon,
before the return of consciousness. To accomplish this may be a
difficult matter, but I beg you, at any rate, to remember that, where
in doubt between two courses, it is always better to choose that which
inclines the most to the side of Humanity, and remember, also, that
there is a sentence in Holy Writ, spoken by lips that we all love and
revere, which makes light of any physical advantage gained at the
cost of a moral deterioration, and says, " If thy right hand offend
thee, cut it off and cast it from thee ; for it is better that one of thy
members should perish than that thy whole body should be cast into
hell." This is not the doctrine of Vivisection.
Caroline Earle White.